If you have a Vulcan Mean Streak (2002 - 2008), you'll find that the options for a made-to-fit backrest are limited to the Fire and Steel backrest. Though this one works great, there are a few issues:
- They're hard to find
- They can be expensive if you do find one
- There is no luggage rack available to fit them
- And, maybe, it's a little shorter than you'd like
Additionally, the existing luggage rack options for the Mean Streak either a) rely on the stock strut covers and won't work with saddle bag brackets or b) mount to the helmet lock brackets which aren't exactly sturdy.
So where can you turn if you want a sturdy backrest/luggage rack setup? E-Bay, of course! Or, more specifically, Honda. It happens that the Honda Shadow VT600C and VLX600 (1999-2007) backrest fits just fine on the Mean Streak if you're willing to drill just one hole in each side.
What you Need:
- (1) Backrest mentioned above
- (4) 8mm x 60mm bolts, preferably chrome round-head socket bolts but stainless steel looks just as good. If you can't find them locally Amazon has some.
- (4) spacers. If you already have the Fire and Steel backrest or billet strut covers, you can use the spacers you already have. Otherwise see below to make your own.
How to Do It
This sample shows the installed backrest using the existing rear bolt holes. New holes were carefully drilled in the front of each bracket to match the mean streak's bolt pattern.
Mock up the installation by removing the rear fender bolts, inserting the spacers and bolting the backrest in place loosely. Adjust the backrest to your desired position, see where the holes should be drilled and mark them. The holes should be 8-10mm diameter, 119mm center to center.
Drill the holes from the outside ("good" side) to minimize the appearance of any flaking chrome. To make sure the brackets matched, I first drilled one bracket, then matched them up good side to good side, clamped them, and drilled the second.
If you don't already have a Fire and Steel backrest or billet strut covers, you'll want to make some spacers between the backrest brackets and your frame. As you can see, the rear struts are countersunk to accommodate the original bolt heads.
The spacers don't really need to be this exact shape, but here's the one included with the Kawasaki backrest and strut covers:
A nice, thick bushing that's about 7/16" O.D. and 5/16" I.D. (for an 8mm bolt) should do the trick.